Uniforms and Advancement
3.1.1 Significance of the Uniform
Scouting is a uniformed movement. Throughout our society, only certain special people are entitled to wear a uniform. Just as a sports uniform proclaims one's membership on a team, the Scout uniform proclaims one's membership in the largest voluntary youth movement in the world. The Scout uniform tends to diminish the importance of an individual's financial, social, and ethnic background, while clearly showing his degree of accomplishment in Scouting. At the same time, the uniform maintains one's individuality since no two uniforms are completely alike, and they show off that individual's Scouting achievements.

The Scout uniform helps to achieve the objectives of Scouting. The uniform itself cannot make a good Scout or a good troop, but its use has been proven to improve both the Scout and the troop because it is a visible symbol of Scouting and unity. While the official BSA uniform is the standard for Troop 216, the troop committee and/or Scoutmaster have authorized variations for specific activities/occasions.

Each Scout is required to have and wear, within a reasonable amount of time after joining the troop, the official BSA uniform. If a Scout cannot purchase an official BSA uniform, he should discuss this with the Scoutmaster or the Troop Committee Chair.

It is the policy of Troop 216 that all Scouts should wear the official uniform of the Boy Scouts of America to all troop meetings (including neckerchief) and on outings (neckerchief generally not required), in addition to having their Boy Scout handbook, pen, and papers. 
3.1.2 Official BSA Uniform for Scouts
The Official BSA uniform, often called the “class A uniform”, consists of:
  • Official BSA tan short or long-sleeve shirt with all patches and insignia properly placed (see the inside cover of the Scout Handbook for information regarding the placement of patches and insignia). With the possible exception of the top button, all buttons should be fastened. Shirttail should be tucked into pants.
  • Official BSA green short or long pants.
  • Troop 216 blue neckerchief with a Scout theme slide. The neckerchief should be neatly rolled and worn under the shirt collar.
  • Official BSA web belt or Scout theme leather belt and buckle set (e.g., Philmont or Jamboree belt and buckle).
  • Official BSA green socks worn with closed toe shoes or boots.
  • Troop numbers “216”
  • World Scouting Badge
  • The Scouts' current badge of rank
  • Leadership patch (senior patrol leader, etc.) if holding position.
  • Patrol patch

Optional elements of the official BSA uniform include:
  • Official BSA or Scout theme hat worn appropriately.
  • Merit badge sash worn over the right shoulder.
  • Order of the Arrow (OA) sash is worn only when directed by the OA representative and/or Scoutmaster.
  • Up to five (5) BSA medals may be worn over the Left shirt pocket. Note: Religious Medals are not BSA medals. They are worn on Scout Sunday, religious events supported by the troop or as directed by the Scoutmaster.

While Scouts are expected to wear the official BSA uniform for all troop meetings, events, activities and ceremonies, it MUST be worn for all rank advancement functions, on Scout Sunday, and during Luminaria delivery. Rank advancement functions include the Scoutmaster conference, board of review, court of honor, and Eagle Scout ceremonies.

A Scout will not be admitted to a Scoutmaster conference or board of review unless in the official BSA uniform. A Scout may be prohibited from participation in all functions at a court of honor unless in the official BSA uniform. The final decision as to whether a Scout is “in” uniform will be made by the Scoutmaster for Scoutmaster conferences, court of honor and Luminaria delivery and by the chairperson of the board of review for a board of review with or without consultation with the senior patrol leader and/or Troop Committee Chair.

Uniform inspections are held periodically however, an annual formal inspection is required for Council / National re-chartering of the troop and will be scheduled during the annual planning meeting.

Scout Handbook
The Boy Scout Handbook is part of the uniform.  It…
  • Is necessary to pass all advancement requirements in Scouting.
  • Should be maintained in good order.
  • Is required at each board of review.
  • Should be brought to all troop meetings and campouts.
  • Should have the Scout’s name marked on the edge.
  • Should be brought with pen or pencil to all troop meetings and campouts.

Troop activity uniform for Scouts often called the “class B uniform” consists of:
  • Troop designed or Scout theme T-shirt (e.g. summer camp T-shirt). Shirttail should be tucked into pants.
  • Official BSA or any other green short or long pants.
  • Official BSA web belt or Scout theme leather belt and buckle set
  • Official BSA green socks worn with closed toe shoes or boots.

An optional element of the troop activity uniform is:
  • Official BSA of Scout theme hat worn appropriately.
The troop activity uniform may be worn to service projects and during activities on campouts and any other times designated by the senior patrol leader, Scoutmaster and/or troop committee.

Merit Badge Sash
Merit badges are worn on a merit badge sash as soon as they have been earned. The merit badge sash is not worn at troop meetings. The merit badge sash is worn for boards of review, courts of honor and Scout Sunday. The merit badge sash is only worn over the right shoulder. 

Note: If the Scout is a member of the Order of the Arrow, he may elect to wear the Order of the Arrow sash and display the merit badge sash hanging from his belt.

Order of the Arrow Sash
The Order of the Arrow sash is worn at any Order of the Arrow event. The OA sash is worn instead of the merit badge sash.

Full Uniform Required
The uniform is so important it is one of Scouting's eight methods. Troop 216 requires a complete and correct Scout uniform for all Scouts and uniformed adult leaders.  The Scoutmaster or outing leader shall designate which uniform will be worn at all troop events.

Uniform Exchange
The troop committee is responsible for providing a uniform exchange of used uniform items.  If Scouts have outgrown uniform components, give them to the Troop Committee Chair so that in cases of hardship, the troop can provide to another Scout.
3.1.3 Troop 216 Provided Elements
When a boy joins the troop, he is designated a “New Scout” and is awarded a red neckerchief from the troop.  Upon completion of the rank of Tenderfoot, he his then awarded a troop blue neckerchief.

The troop provides merit badges, rank advancement patches, patrol patches and in most cases leadership position patches.  See the Scoutmaster if you have questions or need a patch.
3.2 Advancement
Scouting says advancement is "the art of meeting a challenge." For that is exactly what the Boy Scout advancement program asks the boys to do. The Boy Scout advancement program provides a ladder of skills that a Scout climbs at his own pace. As he acquires these skills he moves up through a series of ranks, for which he is awarded badges.

Advancement is one of Scouting's eight methods because it teaches useful skills along with leadership and service. The Scoutmaster may require a specific level of advancement for some activities, due to the nature of that activity or as an inducement to encourage advancement.

Troop 216 follows requirements for rank advancement, section 4.2.3 in the Guide to Advancement 2011 (publication number 33088). The Guide to Advancement is revised from time to time and our policies and procedures will reflect the current rules. If Troop 216’s Handbook is in conflict with the current Guide to Advancement, then the Guide to Advancement will be followed.
3.2.1 Ranks
Beginning in 2016
the following modifications will be incorporated.
  • Scout will become a rank
  • Service at all ranks (conservation-related at Life)
  • Healthy eating/habits requirements
  • Some reordering in Tenderfoot to First Class Physical fitness at each rank, Tenderfoot to First Class
  • Outdoor ethics — Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly
  • Weather safety, risk assessment and mitigation
  • Duty to God incorporated in requirement to show Scout Spirit.
Broad Requirements & Typical Completion Time
  • To earn the Scout rank the boy must demonstrate knowledge of certain very basic concepts of Boy Scouting.
  • The Scout can earn this rank easily, and it provides the boy with an early sense of confidence.
  • Within the first month.
  • This rank requires that the Scout learn the Scout Oath, Law and some basic Scoutcraft skills.
  • By the end of the first Summer Camp, or shortly thereafter.
Second Class
  • This rank continues to develop their Scoutcraft skills.
  • At or near the end of their first year.
First Class
  • This is the last of the “junior” or “skill” ranks.
  • First Class Scouts have shown the beginnings of leadership and have learned most basic Scoutcraft skills.
  • By the end of their second Summer Camp.
Star, Life and Eagle ranks focus on developing leadership and service to both the troop and to the community. Leadership positions and service hours are part of the requirements. The boys are expected to start giving back to their troop by helping lead the troop or training the younger Scouts. Certain numbers of service hours are required for each rank. Completion of merit badges is also a key part of achieving the senior ranks.
  • Star Scouts and above are considered “senior” Scouts.
  • Beginning with this rank, the emphasis is on values, attitude and leadership by example.
  • Before the third summer camp.
  • The last rank before Eagle.
  • Life Scouts are the core of the troop’s youth leadership.
  • Life Scouts are reminded of their influence on the younger Scouts and are expected to consistently set a good example for the junior Scouts.
  • Before the fourth summer camp.
  • Scouts who have earned the rank of Eagle are Scouting’s flagship youth.
  • These boys, by virtue of the responsibility and effort they have demonstrated in order to acquire this rank, have earned the utmost respect of the troop’s boys and adults alike.
  • Boys are prodded, but not pressured to complete this rank.  Some boys will complete this by the time they are 14; others will just make it before they turn 18.
  • Once an Eagle, the Scout continues to earn palms for additional merit badges.  This is not an additional rank but recognizes additional work in Scouting.

The Four Steps of Advancement

Rank patches are awarded to the Scout at the earliest possible troop court of honor following his board of review. A Scout must wear the official troop field uniform (class A) to the board of review. Formal recognition and written rank card are awarded at the courts of honor, held in February, May and August. Scouts should retain rank advancement cards as proof of completion.

3.2.2 Scout Through First Class
From the time the Scout enters the troop through his advancement to First Class, he is learning basic Scouting skills to enable him to camp, hike, swim, cook, tie knots, administer first aid, and perform other tasks in the outdoors, and to work as a member of a team. These basic Scouting skills are commonly referred to as “Scoutcraft.” With these first steps the Scout begins to build himself physically, mentally, and morally. He will start to live the Scout Oath and Law.

To ensure that a new Scout’s first steps on the path to Eagle are on solid ground, Troop 216 has developed a First Year Program. The goals of this program are to:
  • Orient the new Scout and his parent(s) to the troop
  • Establish the new Scout in a patrol
  • Introduce the Scouts to the patrol method
  • Describe the process for earning merit badges and rank advancement
  • Encourage rank advancement with a focus on reaching First Class

To achieve these goals, the troop employs the services of troop guides, which are older Scouts with the rank of First Class or higher, to mentor new Scouts during their first year with Troop 216. Furthermore, there is a New Scout campout held, generally in the spring, where they will be introduced to all aspects of troop camping, such as trip planning and packing, assembling a tent and dining fly, meal planning and preparation as well as completing some of the early rank advancement requirements. 

Overseeing all aspects of this program and interacting directly with the parent(s) of a new Scout is an assistant Scoutmaster. Parents are encouraged to read the “Introduction” of the Boy Scout Handbook, so that they can also be knowledgeable guides to their new Scout. In the front of the Boy Scout Handbook is How To Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide . Please read this booklet and discuss with your Scout.  Discussing this important topic is actually a requirement for your son to earn the rank of Scout.
3.2.3 First Class to Eagle
After First Class, the Scout will be demonstrating leadership skills, performing service projects, earning merit badges, and using the basic skills learned while earning the ranks.  The ranks of Star and Life are harder to earn than the earlier ranks, but are also more interesting for the older Scouts.

Once a Scout attains the rank of Life, he will begin the final journey towards Eagle. One of the requirements for Eagle is to complete an Eagle Project. To assist the Scout in this challenge, the troop will provide each Life Scout an Eagle Coach.

The requirements for each rank advancement are explained in the Boy Scout Handbook. There are pages that list each item necessary for advancement and a place for an adult leader’s initials and a date. Parents may not sign off on advancement for their own son.

3.2.4 Active Participation
While the troop certainly appreciates multiple activities vying for a Scout’s time, he must be “active in the troop” for advancement opportunities.
The Scout is registered.
The Scout is in good standing.

A Scout is considered in “good standing” with his unit as long as he has not been dismissed for disciplinary reasons.
The Scout meets the unit’s reasonable expectations.

For Troop 216 those expectations are:
  • He attends at least one meeting a month
  • He attends at least one campout per quarter
  • He attends at least 25% of other troop activities
  • He is current with his recharter fees

The rank requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle have mandatory time periods that a Scout must be active in his troop to advance in rank. The definition of “active” is defined by national standards.
3.2.5 Merit Badges
With over one hundred topics to choose from, the merit badge program expands the Scout's areas of interest and is designed to propel the Scout beyond the home, to learn to communicate with strangers, and to learn about a subject from a local expert.

To earn the Eagle Scout rank, a boy must earn a total of 21 merit badges. Thirteen of these merit badges must be from a group that is specifically designated as “Eagle required.”  Scouts may choose freely among the remaining badges to achieve the total of 21.

A Scout of any rank may earn any merit badge.

Merit Badge Books
If merit badge booklets are required, the troop has a library with a number of books to loan. The Scout may also purchase his own booklet at the council Scout shop. Booklets borrowed from the troop library should be returned as soon as practical upon completion of the merit badge.

For more information about Boy Scout merit badges, see http://www.meritbadge.com .
Merit badge work sheets are available at: http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badge_Worksheets

  1. Merit badges are earned by a Scout working with a registered merit badge counselor.
  2. Before starting any work on a merit badge, the Scout should contact the merit badge coordinator to make sure there is a counselor available for that merit badge.
  3. Once a merit badge counselor is available, the Scout should request a blue merit badge card from the Scoutmaster.
  4. The Scout can then begin work on the merit badge requirements.
  5. As the Scout completes the requirements, the counselor signs off on those requirements on the blue merit badge card.
  6. When the Scout completes the work on the merit badge, the Scout turns in the completed blue merit badge card to the Scoutmaster.
  7. Merit badges will be presented to the Scout during the troop's next court of honor along with the center section of the blue merit badge card. The Scout should keep this section in a safe place as it will be required documentation when they apply for Eagle Scout.
  8. All troop parents are encouraged to become merit badge counselors.

  • All merit badge counselors must be registered adult volunteers and registered as a merit badge counselor with the BSA.
  • Scouts are encouraged to complete any merit badge requirements within one year, including any badges begun at summer camp.
  • The merit badge requirements are set forth in the current individual official BSA merit badge books, or the current edition of Boy Scout Requirements.
3.2.6 Leadership 
“Serve actively for x months in a position of responsibility”

The rank requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle have this requirement. Star requires four months, Life and Eagle each require six months.

Before a Scout is elected or appointed to a position of responsibility, or assigned a leadership project for the troop, he must be aware of the responsibilities and time commitment.

When a Scout assumes a position, something related to the desired results must happen. It is a disservice to the Scout and to the unit to reward work that has not been done. Holding a position and doing nothing, producing no results is unacceptable. Some degree of responsibility must be practiced, taken or accepted.

If a Scout is not fulfilling his responsibilities then a Scoutmaster conference should be held to determine the reason(s). If a Scout is unable, or unwilling, to perform the duties of the position, then he will be removed from that position by the Scoutmaster.

There are a number of things common to all positions of responsibility. These are:
  • Set a good example
  • Wear the Scout uniform correctly
  • Good attendance of meetings
  • Attend 2/3 of campouts
  • Attend 2/3 of PLC (if required)
  • Attend 2/3 of other troop activities
  • Live by the Scout Oath and Law
  • Show Scout spirit

“Wear the Scout uniform correctly” means that the Scout will have his current position patch sewn on his uniform along with all other required patches. He will take pride in his uniform and wear it for all meetings and when traveling.

A Scout must hold an approved troop office and execute it in an acceptable manner for at least the minimum period of active service required for Star, Life, and Eagle. For Star or Life, a Scout may also carry out a specific leadership project approved by the Scoutmaster.  See Boy Scout Held Positions in booklet 2 Structure for details.
3.2.7 Service Hours
Scouts are expected to earn community service time towards rank advancement and in support of the Boy Scout motto “Do A Good Turn Daily.” Service time includes volunteer work to a community, school, church, or other non-profit organization. In order to earn service time towards rank advancement, Scouts MUST be working as a Boy Scout during the time the service is provided and not as a part of what would normally be expected or done as a member of the organization the Scout may be affiliated with. All service time must be approved by the Scoutmaster PRIOR TO the service time being completed

All requirements for advancement are tracked using the Official Boy Scout Handbook and recorded in Troop Webhost. The Handbook is the Scout's official record of advancement, and, therefore, it should always be kept in good condition. Scouts are encouraged to purchase a book cover in order to protect their Handbook. Each Scout should have his handbook at all troop meetings and functions. Advancement requirements may be approved and 'signed off' by any registered Scouter (adult) other than the Scout's parent/guardian, and by any Scoutmaster-approved Scout (normally assistant Scoutmaster).
  1. Troop 216 will regularly identify service project possibilities..

  2. Service hours utilized for rank advancement must be approved in advance by the Scoutmaster.

  3. Troop 216 is firmly committed to the need of Scouts to provide volunteer service to their community. The service may be organized by the Scout, the troop, or a volunteer agency.

3.2.8 Scout Spirit
All ranks have the requirement to show Scout spirit although it looks different for each rank.

“Scout spirit applies to how a Scout lives and conducts his daily life. He shows Scout spirit by being a role model to his peers, living by the Scout Oath and Law. The concept of Scout spirit is not based on how many Scouting events or outings a Scout attends, but rather by how he helps bring out the best in others as a reflection of his own character and attitude in life.”

This requirement is signed off in the troop as part of the Scoutmaster conference.  Examples would include the following.
  • Helping others
  • Reading your Boy Scout handbook
  • Participating  in troop activities regularly
  • Not complaining or putting others down
  • Willing to try new things
  • Coming prepared for campouts
  • Handling normal personal tasks and patrol tasks (cooking, camp setup and tear down etc.) without being asked?
  • Being ready to assist when you see something that needs doing without being asked

If the Scoutmaster has a concern about a Scout, they may hold a Scoutmaster conference before the rank advancement conference. The Scoutmaster may at his or her discretion talk to the parents about this requirement.
3.2.9 Scoutmaster Conference
One of the final requirements for each rank is that the Boy Scout meet with the Scoutmaster.  After completing all requirements, and prior to the board of review, a Scout meets with the Scoutmaster to discuss past progress and plans for his future and next rank.  The Scout needs to be in their uniform unless otherwise permitted by the Scoutmaster.
3.2.10 Board of Review
It is a National Policy that all Scouts must participate in a board of review for all rank advancement.  This review is not an examination but rather strives to:
  • Make sure the Scout has done what he was supposed to do for the rank and that the work has been learned and completed.

  • Assess the quality of the Scout’s scouting experience.

  • Encourage the Scout to progress further.

  • Understand why a particular Scout is not progressing through the ranks.

  • Talk with the Scout about his overall satisfaction with the troop, its leadership, campout choices, etc.

Boards of review do not quiz the Scout on his knowledge of the rank’s requirements but rather the personal dynamics surrounding his successes and disappointments in his overall effort to succeed in the troop.

Requesting a BOR
When a Scout has completed all the requirements for a rank, he appears before a board of review. The Scout requests a board of review by signing up for one at a regular troop meeting or contacting the Advancement Committee Chair. The board of review meets during each troop meeting and is composed of troop committee members for the ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life.

Scout leaders (the Scoutmaster and the assistant Scoutmasters) or the parent(s) of a Scout must not be part of that Scout’s board of review.

Eagle BOR
Eagle boards of review are conducted by the district and are scheduled through the District Advancement Chair. Eagle boards of review normally consist of leaders and adults from across the Crosswinds District and is held at a separate location, typically on the second Wednesday of each month.

Unit leaders for the Eagle Scout candidate may not serve on the BOR. The Scoutmaster will introduce the candidate to the board. With the Eagle Scout candidate’s permission, the Scoutmaster may remain in the room seated behind the candidate to observe. The Scoutmaster does not speak during the BOR.

 Requirements for a BOR
  • Full uniform
  • All requirements signed off
  • Proper paperwork